“Ne… Lily, you sure about this?”

“Iris I’ve said this like five times, yes, I’ll be fine.”

Lily was lying flat against a crude metal table constructed of scrap, her right arm stretched out straight at a 90 degree angle. Behind her, Iris stood with her arm morphed into a blade covered in magical energy. The blade was as long as her arm, and positively hummed as she swung it through the air.

“Ehhhh… I’m not too confident…”

“Don’t worry Iris. I trust your ability. Remember, okay? Clean cut at the joint.”

Specifically, Lily trusted in Iris’ vision mode that allowed her to see through muscle tissue to see the skeleton of an organic.

“Uuuu~ that’s just giving me pressure. Ah, whatever. Here goes! Hyah!”

With a quick motion, Iris sliced down, aiming the blade at an angle, targeting the curvature of the joint, tracing the joint to cleanly remove Lily’s right arm. Due to the sheer heat of the blade searing away the disconnected nerves, Lily only felt a slight sting before seeing the arm fall off.

“See? That wasn’t so hard. Good job.”

She got up off the makeshift table, which had been sliced in half along with her arm, then patted Iris’ soft metal hair with her left, artificial arm.

“Ehehe. Thanks.”

Iris giggled and morphed her hand back, fidgeting around while clasping them behind her torso. Her eyes flickered to a vivid, bright pink.

Lily bent over and picked up from the ground another artificial arm, identical in form and function as her left arm, and held it up to her newly-created right shoulder stump, sending her tendrils through it and assimilating it. She did the usual tests, confirming the new limb was fully functional. Her first new arm had proven to be surprisingly good for her mechanic work; the full degree of motion, as well as tools in the fingertips, and precise magical control, allowed her to work as if she had her reliable <<Machina Gauntlet>> with her again. With this advantage, she had been able to complete the second arm much faster. With that in mind, in addition to the balance for her attacks, it had been an easy decision to willingly amputate her last remaining organic limb.

She ran forward and leapt, perfectly executing a spinning tornado kick. As she slowed to a stop, she pushed off against the ground, an action which sent her high into the air.

While she worked on her new arm, she had also forged herself a new pair of legs from the same material as her arm, the same length as her original, but sturdier, with a number of hidden tools.

One of these tools activated as she reached the apex of her jump, somersaulting into position for an axe kick. While she plummeted downwards, just before impact, with her leg still raised above her head, a concealed port in the foot of her kicking leg expelled a blast of compressed air, greatly increasing the speed and resultant force of her kick. She quickly triggered it again, further increasing the velocity and force. Finally, the foot contacted the ground, and a large cloud of dust and debris erupted with her as the epicenter.

As the dust cleared, she found herself standing in a crater that ran about 2 metres deep at its lowest, with a radius of about 4 metres. At the side, Iris watched and clapped, mouth agape.

Lily grinned at the satisfactory result. She had initially wanted to incorporate the machine’s air projectile armaments, but Iris told her that the recoil from the attack would probably make the weapon highly inaccurate. Working off this, Lily had instead opted to install multiple, smaller such devices in numerous joints. While her smaller versions were unable to generate enough force for a projectile of the same destructive capacity, she found she was able to replicate some of the original’s recoil, which could be woven into her existing kick-focused style.

Of course, the presence of new weapons in the form of her arms meant a new possible angle of attack, which Lily was determined to learn.

“Hm. Iris… I know you said you’d stay with me while I trained, but… are you sure? It’ll probably be boring. And I don’t know how long I’ll take.”

“It’s fine~ boredom isn’t programmed into my system. I can watch you for years and never be bored~”

Lily blinked. Despite Iris’ metal exterior and the impressionability of their meeting, she always acted so human that Lily often forgot she was a machine. Then her momentary shock was replaced with a chuckle.

“Fine. Maybe you can help me look for more supplies while I practice if you do start getting bored.”


With that, Lily began her practice. Just like when she learned to kick, she took herself slowly through the motions of punching, slowly increasing in speed and power, memorising and practicing, internalising the actions. This time, she incorporated the tiny air blasters – she had started calling them <<boosters>>, at Iris’ suggestion – into the movements, learning how to take into account the added force and momentum from these devices.

At the same time, she revised her kicking techniques, also learning to incorporate her boosters, and mixed the moves, developing and perfecting various combinations of kicks and punches and other strikes.

While she did, Iris had simply stayed by the side and observed her, occasionally getting up to search for more supplies. Finally, when Lily seemed satisfied with her training, Iris spoke up.

“Ne, Lily, want to spar? It might be better to practice against a thinking opponent.”

Lily raised an eyebrow, then frowned. It made sense, but…

“It’s an interesting idea that sounds like fun, but… I don’t want to hurt you…”

“Hmph. I’m not that fragile, you know.” Iris puffed out her metal chest in a gesture that seemed like indignation, but her eyes were flashing a warm, happy orange. “I’ve been observing, and as long as you output less than 60% of your max, I’ll be fine. On my end, I’ll use dissipating bullets that dissolve on hit, so you won’t get hurt either.”

“Hmmm…” Lily contemplated. She was rather interested to find out what Iris was capable of, especially since she had identified herself as a military unit. She grinned. “Sure, why not? Let’s make it a game. Hmmm… one hit is a point. First to three points wins.”

Iris smiled radiantly. “Sounds like fun.”

“In that case… hyah!”

Without warning, Lily dashed towards Iris, wheeling into a roundhouse kick. Just to be safe, she kept her power output to about 40%, sending her heel hurtling towards Iris’s abdomen.